A Letter From Pastor Hart: Transition and Vision in 2020

Dear Austin Cathedral members and friends,

2019 was a year of seeking God’s will. My desire as pastor of Austin Cathedral has been to be sensitive to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. This past year it became clear to me that the Lord was redirecting our path. I consulted with our pastoral team and trusted apostolic voices for confirmation. It became evident that the Lord was drying up the brook. I took a proactive position, asking the Lord to reveal the next step.

Darren and I met a leading pastor in our city back in May: Ross Parsley of One Chapel. Ross and I began a relationship. We had much in common and I was very impressed with One Chapel’s vision of planting local churches, not a single mega-church. They currently have four local congregations with a goal of ten in the next decade. As Ross and I continued to fellowship, it became clear that something was happening in the Spirit. In September I invited them to use our building for their annual multi-campus worship service. I was deeply moved seeing all the young adults and teenagers participating in the service. It became very clear to us both that this was a divine connection. We then entered into serious discussions with One Chapel regarding a union. We have kept this very quiet in order to give it time to mature and truly see if this is the will of God. 

While our churches have some different expressions, we as brothers feel a true unity of the Spirit. What a joy to find a pastor whose heart is filled with love and humility and to realize that the Lord is creating a true union of heart and mind.

I submitted the direction of what the Lord was speaking to our pastoral team of our church and with four men who I consider apostolic leaders that watch over my heart and ministry. All of them were confident that this potential transition with One Chapel was from the Lord. On Sunday January 5th, we informed 35 of our church leaders about our decision to move forward with One Chapel. There was overwhelming affirmation and confirmation.

Sue and I love and appreciate all of you. Over the last 35 years of being a pastor in Austin, Texas we have been privileged to have met literally thousands of God’s people. As we enter into 50 years of ministry we are coming to a new season in our lives. Our focus during this time has been foremost the welfare of our congregation and its future direction. We have always believed that a pastor is married to the local church where they serve and should never do anything that is not in the best interest of the people. I have often stated that I will never leave you or forsake you…ever. 

Let me be clear we are not leaving or retiring but moving ahead to what I believe will be our greatest endeavor ever in the history of our church. We are going to continue as a people. Relationships that are from the Lord never end, they only grow and multiply.  

Our last formal Sunday service will be March 29. Our building has been purchased by One Chapel and will be transferred on March 31st. The building will then be closed for approximately 5 months for complete renovation of the facility to prepare for One Chapel’s formal Fall launch in this building in Sept 2020.

At present our direction is twofold: Our pastoral team and many leaders have already indicated they will be joining as members with One Chapel at their campus to attend and participate in their vision. We will join One Chapel for their Sunday services in Oak Hill beginning April 5, until the One Chapel formal launch at our current building. We are committed to serve in the One Chapel community and Pastor Ross has wholeheartedly invited us to do so. With a vision for at least ten churches all around the region, we will have plenty of opportunity! Of course, as we move forward, we will also continue with our community and friends that call Austin Cathedral their home.

While we encourage you to attend One Chapel services, we also encourage you to maintain Austin Cathedral connections. During the renovation interval we will also be gathering from time-to-time in fellowship and prayer. As we join with One Chapel, we will have opportunities of extended worship as the Lord leads. We will be participating together in a vibrant church community that is reaching many households for the Lord. There is excitement in the air about the dynamic fruit as a result of our unity.

Hearing this for the first time, it might feel like an ending of who we are, but in reality, it is an opportunity for all that the Lord has worked in us to have a greater expression and to see a fruitfulness that will be incredible. Please feel free to reach out to me, Darren or Cheryl with any questions, or to hear more about the journey that has brought us to this point. We are hoping you join with us as our future broadens and expands as a people and with a people.

We Love and Bless You,

Bill and Sue Hart